Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Problems with Lists

Even almost two years after my own wedding, I still come across helpful "Do this for your wedding!" lists, or "These things are not necessary!" lists. Both are frustrating, but for different reasons. Really, what it comes down to is that you should do, for your own wedding, what you'd like, because no matter what you do, someone will tell you it's wrong.

This list kinda made me think for a minute, because I know this woman got married in the area where she and her now-husband live. Obviously not everything thinks of everything, and since most people (I think) still get married close to where they live, a lot of this is probably somewhat decent advice, but there are things that didn't get taken into consideration.

What one considers "necessary," others don't, so I really hesitate to outright say that some things just "aren't needed." They may not have been needed for you, but that doesn't apply to everyone.
  • Chairs during the ceremony were for us a necessity. I think that sometimes people who are not religious, who do not have religious ceremonies, don't take into consideration that there are those of us who do have religious wedding ceremonies, that for a segment of the population, the sacrament itself is the important thing. I'm sure there are religious wedding ceremonies that take 20 minutes, but Catholic wedding ceremonies take at least 45 minutes, sometimes a full hour, so noting that chairs "aren't important" for the ceremony is kinda useless advice. There's a lot of sitting and standing and kneeling that goes on - and besides which, very few churches come without pews or the equivalent. I don't want folks standing for an hour. I wouldn't want to stand for an hour.
  • The rehearsal dinner was a helpful thing to have. Most of our wedding party wasn't Catholic, so their learning the timing of the ceremony was beneficial. Not only that, aside from my parents and six other wedding guests, everyone came from out of state, traveling hundreds or thousands of miles - including six guests from Ireland and one from Canada - so this was a rare instance in which we could all see people we wouldn't see regularly. Rehearsal dinners may be irrelevant if you aren't having a religious ceremony, and if everyone lives closeby, but there are times when it's just a really good thing to have.
  • Assigned seating was something I wanted (but I didn't stress over), if only because I didn't want people only talking to people they knew (there was a group I forsaw that being a problem with). I didn't want couples or families split up because people were only thinking of "saving" tables and chairs for people they knew.
  • Agreed that the hoopla of much of the wedding ceremony itself isn't important. I didn't care about the flowers or the dress or the wedding cake so much; we didn't order any flowers for the church, but had some very simply wildflower-type bouquets at the reception. I wanted a strawberry cake with chocolate icing, but I wasn't going to make it myself, especially because Ed and I didn't live in the area where we were getting married. "Make the cake yourself" works if you live in the immediate vicinity, you have the time and space to bake, and can have someone transport the cake, otherwise, you know what? Order the damn cake from a bakery.
  • Bridal parties may not be necessary, but Ed and I wanted people in our wedding party that we loved and were close to and wanted them involved in some capacity. On my side, I had my two first female cousins, my sister-in-law, and my husband's goddaughter; my matron of honor was my closest friend from college. On my husband's side was my brother, my guy first cousin, and a close mutual friend we'd both known for years; and the best man was my husband's closest friend.
  • We probably could have done without a DJ, but we found a guy we liked, who did a good job, who kept things moving, who didn't make us do the stupid cliche-ridden things we didn't want (the bouquet/garter toss and the money dance come to mind), and we didn't have to worry about creating a 5-hour playlist. Sometimes it's worthwhile paying someone to do things so you don't have to worry.
  • Engagement party / bridal party / bachelor party / bachelorette party - didn't happen for us. I didn't especially care, but it also wouldn't have been possible, since "centralized family and friends" wasn't something we had going for us. Plus three of my bridesmaids were under 21, and my matron of honor had a toddler (who happened to be our flower girl), so...that may have limited our craziness. I would have liked an evening out with the bridal party as a whole, but something just along the lines of everyone going out to dinner, but it likely would have been too complicated to arrange, given everyone's travel arrangements.

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